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Avoid getting sick by studying properly

Don't get sick cramming, nobody wants a cold or the flu.

Did you know cramming might be negatively affecting your health? Find out how to avoid the stress of late night cramming and ways to stay healthy during your OET Preparation. 


Hands up who has become ill while cramming for an exam? I know I have!

You might think this is just a coincidence, but it could also be down to the way you’re studying. Cramming and studying for long periods without adequate rest can put your body in danger of getting sick.

Let’s dig a bit deeper and look at how this could happen as well as some of the ways you can avoid it.

Cramming, stress and getting sick

Some students still rely on cramming to help them prepare for their OET.

You know the story: four weeks out, you’re desperately trying to shove as much information into your brain as you can before Test Day. And before you know it, you’ve become sick. So, what’s happening?

You’ll no doubt know that the immune system is a collection of cells that travel through the bloodstream, defending each of us against antigens. Sarah Fumei, from the University of Melbourne, points out that your “relaxed body” attacks pathogens on two fronts:

  • Type 1 immunity uses special cells to move around the body targeting pathogens and infected cells.
  • Type 2 immunity comprises of cells producing antibodies which attach themselves to pathogens and disable them.

Stress, caused by cramming and other stressful activities, can have a negative impact on your nervous system. Studies show that when you’re stressed, your nervous-system cells can secrete a chemical that can help change the behaviour of the very same cells.

Cramming can lead to getting sick

Avoid cramming, it not only doesn’t work, but it can also stress you out.

Stress increases Type 2 immunity over Type 1, reducing your immune system’s ability to fight viruses and putting you and your body at risk of getting sick.

Students are particularly vulnerable to stress and its effects on the immune system.

Avoid getting sick by studying right

While cramming might sound like a good idea, it’s not only bad for your health, it is also an ineffective way to study.

A 2013 study from the University of Psychology, in partnership with The New York Times, found that people who spaced their study out were better off than those that crammed. Researchers found that people who leave more than 24 hours between their learning sessions scored higher than those who practised 50% more.

The best way to avoid cramming too much is to plan out your study while setting times to take a break and socialise. By doing this you can reduce your stress levels, study more effectively and hopefully avoid getting sick.

One way to accomplish this is to develop a study schedule. A weekly study schedule can help you better organise your study and rest times.

For more information about how best to study for OET, check out our OET Masterclasses on our Preparation Portal. They set out best practice across each of the four sub-tests.